Check Prices: Amazon / Guitar Center
In this review, we are going to break down professional studio monitor Focal Alpha 50.
Focal’s new Alpha entry-level line aims to provide quality to a sophisticated listener at a relatively low price.
This line gives the company an edge on the market allowing Focal to compete with such brands as KRK, Yamaha, M-Audio, which dominate the budget price range market.
The low-frequency driver is very similar to the Focal Shape 50 monitors. As for the tweeter, it’s made out of aluminum, instead of aluminum-magnesium. The power of the amplifiers is slightly lower comparing to the Shape Series.
Focal positions the Alpha 50 monitors for music production, that is, more for individual creativity, where power is not so important. The professional Focal Alpha 50 monitor is the most compact representative from the line. The model is ideally suited for work in small areas and in home studios.
Like many other budget models, Focal 50 is equipped with a 5-inch woofer. The manufacturer recommends listening to the monitors in a very close field (20-40 inches [50-100 cm]).
The woofer is a conical surface made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic, which fits in a large laminated port
Above the woofer, there is a 1″ aluminum inverted tweeter with a domed membrane.
The domed membrane of the tweeter is characterized by excellent linearity in the upper range, high resolution and does not cause fatigue during work. The frequency response of monitors is from 45 Hz to 22 kHz (± 3 dB).
The monitors are equipped with AB class amplifier: declared power for tweeter is 20 W, for a woofer – 35 W. AB class amplifiers have increased output current, which minimizes distortion in a wide range of volume. Different amplifiers are used for HF and LF / MF drivers, which allows optimizing power consumption.
What makes these monitors great is two enlarged phase inverter ports placed on the front, which allows you to install monitors in small rooms and close to walls — not that many monitors of this price range can boast about this feature.
The first thing you could notice is how wide these monitors are. The dimensions of these are 12.3 x 8.7 x 10.2 inches (313 x 220 x 258 mm). For instance, Yamaha H5 is 6.7 x 11.2 x 8.7 inches (170 x 285 x 222 mm). You should keep that in mind because these are solely desktop monitors. Mounting points compatible with the wall and ceiling are not envisaged. The weight of one speaker is 15 lbs. (7 kg).
The body is made of 15 mm thick MDF, and it’s designed specifically for the Alpha series. On the rear panel, you can find a pair of connections – balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA. There is also an input sensitivity switch +4/-10. Speakers support energy-saving mode, which automatically turns off the monitors in the event of downtime.
Volume knobs are not envisioned in this line, so you’ll have to use your audio interface to adjust the volume. The manufacturer recommends warming up new speakers before operating them in full-spate.
To do this, it’s recommended to use them at medium/low volume for 2-3 days. It is better to use a music signal with a sufficient amount of low frequencies since the amplitude of the movement of the diffusers directly depends on this. According to the documentation, the estimated warm-up time is about 20 working hours.
The sound itself is detailed, as smooth as in the other Focal models, but at the same time, you would hear the lack of bass. This difference is especially audible when you quickly switch sound between different monitor models. However, the bass response can be significantly adjusted by the shelf low-pass filter.
Listening to the upper range monitors of this line you would hear the vibrations in the space, the middle model plays out a full-fledged sound, while the smaller model seems very light, almost airy.
On the other hand, it is an advantage since the relative audibility of the highs is somewhat improved. The sound of this model as a whole seems less powerful compared to the Alpha 65 and 80, although the general character of the sound is mostly preserved.
They behave very well both on classical compositions and on hard rock. Musical instruments are detailed with a good stereo image. At the same time, the concave dome tweeter does not hurt an ear at high frequencies.
Comparing to the other monitors of this price range, these offer really detailed sound due to size and acoustic adjustment. Focal 50 show the flaws of the mixes, especially in the middle range frequencies.
- The detailed sound throughout the room
- Low damping of the body ensure no distortion
- Excellent stereo balance in small and medium rooms
- Ability to connect up to 2 signal sources
- Optimally located ports on the front
- Reduced power consumption (Standby mode)
- No volume control
- Rigid design
- Hissing amplifier when idle
To summarize, Focal perfectly analyzed the trends by releasing high-quality, and at the same time, inexpensive monitors. The Alpha line honorably continues the tradition of Focal quality and fully meets the manufacturer’s promises.
The smaller model is not as flexible as its larger series counterparts. It’s designed for a small budget studio and casual listening. Alpha 50 monitor, due to its small size, will fit into the role of a control monitor, for example. True, from this point of view, the model from another line, the Focal Shape 40, seems more advantageous. It is even smaller in size, but at the same time a little more expensive.
In general, these monitors are worth the money. If you place them in a good sound environment, they would beat most budget monitors of this price range.
Check Prices: Amazon / Guitar Center